Home > Croatia, Europe > DESTINATION SPLIT–September 25 to 27, 2009

DESTINATION SPLIT–September 25 to 27, 2009

September 27th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments
View from Zut Anchorage

View from Zut Anchorage

We made our way from Otok Zut one of the largest islands in the Kornati chain after an overnight on anchor in a quiet bay with crystal clear water to Primosten, a trip of about 30 NM.  We’re back in the “summer” doldrums with no wind to speak of, or if there is any wind it is also directly on our nose and makes sailing all but impossible.  It was a gorgeous day with high thin clouds and flat water that made even motoring through the small islands of the cental Dalmatian coast enjoyable.  Kent is becoming a master at light air sailing and has used the gennaker so often that the per use cost has made it a good investment—not what Carol expected when he wanted to buy it.

Somedays even the gennaker won't fly

Somedays even the gennaker won't fly

We visited Primosten on our way north to Istria and found it particularly charming so it was a great stopping off place about half way to our final destination, Split.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and moon rise as well as a special dinner at the restaurant called Panorama, which as the name implies is set high up in the old walled city overlooking the ocean. 

Moonrise Sail

Moonrise Sail

Restaurant Panorama, Primosten

Restaurant Panorama, Primosten

The next morning after filling water tanks, and doing some needed provisioning—can’t live on water alone, and the wine was getting low—we were off to Split. We needed a “city fix” having spent the last several weeks mostly in remote islands and decided Split, which is the second largest city in Croatia and the largest with a harbor would be a welcome change.  Even from a distance we could see there was nothing remote about Split which spans from the water up a hillside.  The quay is lined with stately palm trees.

Split Waterfront

Split Waterfront

The ancient Roman architecture rivals that of Dubrovnik, and the focal point is the Diocletian Palace built between AD 295 and 305 by Emperor Diocletian as a waterfront retirement home.  Diocletian’s remains are buried in a portion of the former Palace which subsequently became a Christian cathedral—ironic since during his life he persecuted Christians.

Diocletian's Palace

Diocletian's Palace

Cathedral of St. Domnius in Palace

Cathedral of St. Domnius in Palace

The “Vestibule” as it is called is a large domed structure with an open roof through which you can view the top of the bell tower that is a later addition to the octagonal Cathedral of St. Dominus.

Vestibule in Diocletian's Palace

Vestibule in Diocletian's Palace

We haven’t seen a bell tower yet that wasn’t worth climbing, so disregarding the signs warning that we climbed at our risk, and the well worn stone steps with 18” rises in places, we made it to the top and were treated to a birds eye view of the sprawling city.

Long Way up Bell Tower

Long Way up Bell Tower

Bell Tower Panorama

Bell Tower Panorama

We made it!

We made it!

No wonder my knees hurt

No wonder my knees hurt

From the bell tower we could hear a men’s a cappella choir singing in the Vestibule and see Destiny anchored in the harbor.  It was quite windy and much of the climb was exposed making for an exciting climb and descent.

Destiny in Split Harbor

Destiny in Split Harbor

An aside about anchoring in Split Harbor.  The charts indicate a “no anchoring zone” around the commercial traffic areas, but boats anchored across the harbor.  When Kent asked the port captain whether anchoring was permitted in that part of the harbor (of course, we were already there) he said “it is illegal” then put his hands over his eyes like the “see no evil” monkey.  Bottom line, we have determined that as is often the case where there is an ACI Marina (the dominate marina chain in Croatia) they force the towns to “discourage” anchoring which is bad for their business.  We have found that if we are anchored in a place that is not interfering with harbor traffic, no one enforces any anchoring restrictions. 

Unlike Dubrovnik which boasts a continuous wall around the city, with a small harbor, Split is a large commercial harbor with a beautiful pedestrian promenade known as the Riva that is lined with towering palm trees (some four stories high) set against a background of beautiful hotels, restaurants and cafes. 

Riva--Pedestrian Promenade

Riva--Pedestrian Promenade

Shopping on Riva

Shopping on Riva

 The Riva cafes have some exotic entertainment, too.  Those are real pidgeons on his head and shoulder.  Couldn’t help but pass him a few kuna.

Novel entertainment on Riva

Novel entertainment on Riva

 In Split the ancient Roman structures have been preserved but incorporated into contemporary uses.  There are layers and layers of stone and mortar, massive columns that no longer support anything.

Layers of History

Layers of History

Palace Walls

Palace Walls

If only walls could talk

If only walls could talk

Palace Gate

Palace Gate

Like every medieval town, there are legends that abound.  The towering Statue of Nin, a famous bronze sculpture by a noted Croatian artist, has a toe that reportedly brings good luck.  Over the centuries the toe has been touched by so many people that is has turned bright gold rather than the burnished color of aged bronze. 

Nin's Golden Toe

Nin's Golden Toe

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, Kent was sure to touch it.  This is one very big toe.

Lucky Toe Touch

Lucky Toe Touch

There are fish, meat and vegetable markets daily in Split and while we appreciated the fresh fruit and vegetables, the meat and fish were a little too up close and personal for our taste.  Give me a good old filet of fish anyday.

Everyday is Market Day

Everyday is Market Day

Many little fishes

Many little fishes

Now this is a fish

Now this is a fish

I can't eat anything that stares at me

I can't eat anything that stares at me

This is enough to make me a vegetarian

This is enough to make me a vegetarian

The harbor is crowded with ferries that cruise the mainland coast and islands and it is not uncommon to see 6 or more of various sizes in the harbor at one time, along with a dozen daytrip boats. 

Day trip boats on quay

Day trip boats on quay

Ferries and more ferries!

Ferries and more ferries!

Add to that an occasional cruise ship that anchors off shore with tenders running back and forth to shore and you have a chaotic harbor scene. 

Cruise ship off harbor entrance

Cruise ship off harbor entrance

In fact, the boat traffic and constant wakes became so uncomfortable on Sunday morning after the cruise ship arrived, that we split from Split.

We’re back to the islands!

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